As the flippant title of her stand-up show suggests, Jen Kirkman isn’t afraid to get real with you. She speaks candidly about topics such as sexuality, married life, divorce, age, masturbation etc. with a clear foundation of autobiography. Anecdotes in comedy can border on boring when a comedian doesn’t know which bits to cut, but Kirkman’s delivery is concise and acerbic with frequent pay-offs. Plus, there’s nothing affected about her persona.
I confess to becoming aware of her through this special, possibly because she isn’t as famous in the UK yet. Only some sections of the hour-long set are observational, allowing her cynicism to sidestep any sense of superiority. While watching, I kept imagining her as a sarcastic work friend whose dry wit spares you from small talk. It’s frequently said of performers that ‘you want to be friends with them’ and this was the likely capacity in which I pictured our interaction. This may be due to her insightful perception of the everyday and her sharp analysis – she’s matter-of-fact without being crass and her viewpoint is especially accessible to deep-thinkers and realists.
Before we see the main show, there’s a naturalistic short depicting show preparation whereby she sits with a friend. The comedic tone is subtle and the audience experiences the first slice of her ‘show, don’t tell’ style. The same goes for the final 3 minutes of faux ‘behind-the-scenes’ footage, verifying our impression of her comedy as exploratory and nuanced. I also recently discovered her Twitter and Instagram pages are worth following if you want more truth-telling interspersed with silly jokes.
I’ve just finished bouncing around my bedroom with flailing arms and open-mouthed expressions in mimicry of Brendon Urie’s enormous mouth. My reason for doing this? Panic! At The Disco have released an official video for their inexplicably happy current release, Hallelujah. Many, many songs are called Hallelujah but this one is 184 seconds of unbridled ecstasy.
Until now, those of us who rediscovered pop-punk music with a new perspective (pun intended) had to contend with an emoji-based lyric video that probably made obsequious marketing execs at the record label rub their palms with repulsive glee. While the new, maze themed video reminds me of Monument Valley; an iPhone game, and falls short of intensifying the euphoric melody, it does satisfy my need to watch Brendon Urie dance in two different outfits: a smart-burgundy suit and a James Dean style leather jacket. I search high and low for happy songs and develop obsessions when I actually find them.
Panic! At The Disco have made catchy albums in recent years, with a more mature and refined sound emerging every time they hit the studio. Hopefully this upbeat anthem uses the rhythmic clapping in the final chorus to spare us of the disingenuous dirges thrust upon us by big label bosses and sad men with guitars. ‘Stand up, sing Hallelujah!’
I’m an emotional person and I assume, like all human beings, you are too. It isn’t something people control: feelings manifest by themselves and then our noggin processes them with its thinkin’. Most of us aim to eliminate the negatives/ accentuate the positives but like everything else this requires hard work and practice. Sometimes we feel unsure about how to acknowledge or dismiss the unwanted thoughts that accompany our moods when we’re not feeling 100, or even 50%. Just know it is possible to get out of your funk.
Here are some light bulb moments for when your mood is low:
Keep busy – being active engages our brains in activities other than overthinking, the leading cause of misery. We base our self-worth on what we do rather than who we are overall thus productivity helps to stabilise your mood.
Talk to a friend ASAP – an acquaintance won’t do as you can’t guarantee their personality will chime with your grumpy self and you’ll want to avoid letting self-hate populate your brain landscape. Communicate with a friend so their response can provide comfort and distraction.
Do something that isn’t just on the laptop – you’re scowling because your mind refuses to be stimulated by a stagnant newsfeed and you need fresh air, not social anxiety-inducing media.
Give somebody else a compliment – you’ll admire yourself for validating another person while they get a self-esteem boost, everybody wins!
Remind yourself of at least 3 reasons you have to feel more optimistic – concentrate your thoughts on what you have as opposed to what you lack as our minds are powerfully attuned to attract more of the energy we put out there. Smile & get a smile back, etc.
Deliberately put on the cheeriest song you know – bonus points if it happens to have a fun video with it. Music is a mood-booster of epic proportions.
Spend time with a habitually happy person – some people smile all the time and exude contentment in conversation – hanging out with these folks will encourage you to adopt a similarly cheery disposition.
Feelings are tricky yet manageable, even if you don’t follow the handy help-outs in this post. Moods are ever-changing so choose optimism as your default. Why? Because you can.